the real period project
(by Nicola and friends)
As a mother I have often found books a helpful resource and have turned to various volumes over the years for a steer on pretty much all aspects of parenting.
As my eldest daughter heads towards puberty, I have been casting about for books that may prove useful in supporting her and our whole family through the onset and ups and downs of menstruation. Thankfully there are plenty of titles out there!
While choice is great I found it a bit overwhelming at first to navigate my way through all the available titles and find things that suit me and my family. With this in mind we thought it would be helpful to review titles we come across and take the sting out of choosing books that are right for you and yours.
Just so you know that if you buy any of the books reviewed here by clicking on the affiliate links at the end of the articles you are supporting our work at The Real Period Project as we will get a small percentage of the price you pay. Thank you!
Written and illustrated by Natalie Byrne
Published by Break the Habit Press (2018)
At a glance
7 – Adults
Looking at together with your child, older children reading alone, spark discussions in a group setting.
A good humoured look at menstruation, puberty, body positive, menstruation products, myth busting!
Period is a collection of fantastic illustrations covering pretty much every aspect of menstruation. The drawings are simple and fun and the language used is the same.
It is also very funny and the author uses playful humour to convey the themes covered. It is well laid out and the first five chapters – our bodies, the menstrual cycle, period products, healthy down there and feeling good – offer a fairly thorough exploration of the subjects.
Chapter six – bloody history – gives brief accounts of how women menstruating at different points in history in different societies were viewed. It seems to be a bit of an afterthought but could also be useful as a starting point for further research.
On the whole this book is a gem. It is funky and fresh with a very broad appeal and is brimming with useful facts and practical advice. The presentation, tone and humour really make it a book for the whole family and it would certainly be a worthwhile addition to the bookshelf.
Cycling to Grandma’s House
illustrations by Erin-Claire Barrow
Published by LULU (2014)
At a glance
5 – 13
Reading together with your child or group, older children reading alone.
Celebrating menarche, international practices, openness around menstruation.
Cycling to Grandma’s House is a picture book that tells the story of Luna.
She is set the task of finding out something special about being a girl and on discussion with her mother decides to focus on menarche and interview her grandmother about her experiences as a young girl in her native land. She meets several women en route who share their stories of menarche in their home countries. All of which she compiles into a report and presents to her class.
The story is simple, celebratory and informative and the illustrations are friendly and colourful.
I have read it to my daughters who are 6 and 10 and both seemed to enjoy it. The eldest has also read it to the youngest and that seemed to work too.
It was a good starting point for our own discussions on the subject and was easy to digest for both girls. It would probably be suitable up to early teens as the practices outlined in the story are genuinely informative regarding practices in other parts of the world.
It could also be useful in a group setting and help to spark discussions and deepen awareness of menstruation as a global issue.
The style is simple, accessible and uplifting. All in all, a very useful little book to have on the shelf.